The youngest candidate of the Congress party in Kerala and a female Dalit face, Remya Haridas (32), is trying hard to win the confidence of voters in Alathur, a bastion of the CPI(M) in Kerala. The constituency came into existence in 2008 post the de-limitation and spreads over seven Assembly segments across the largely rural, agrarian parts of Thrissur and Palakkad districts.
In 2009 and 2014, PK Biju of the CPI(M) was elected here by a great margin. A confident singer and a persuasive orator, Remya heads a block panchayat, a part of the state’s three-tier local governance system, in Kozhikode district. While her candidacy from the seat surprised many, her campaign has generated controversy over opponents mocking her singing and making lewd comments.
As she campaigned on Saturday in Nenmara Assembly segment, Remya spoke to indianexpress.com on the significance of the election.
How do you see your chances in Alathur, which has voted CPI(M) in the last two elections and has a major section of Left-oriented voters?
The Congress-led UDF workers are carrying high hopes and expectations in Alathur. We are all fighting united. This time, we will win back Alathur. This time, we can sense a momentum among the voters in our favour. The women and young people are supporting my candidature and will vote for me.
What are the main issues in this constituency that you hope to solve?
We will take into account all the development activities that have not been done here. A lot of people faced difficulties during the floods and did not get the required help from the government. We have to work, especially in the agrarian sector. Development works have to be carried out for the Kollengode railway station.
The CPI(M) alleges that you are an outsider in this constituency, that you are not a resident of this place. How do you respond?
At present, Alathur’s voters are with me. All of them, who had fought as candidates here, began their political activities here. I believe that I have entered the hearts of the people here as a candidate. I may have come as a UDF candidate but I have become a people’s candidate.
Earlier this week, LDF convenor A Vijayaraghavan made comments directed at you that were sexist in nature. How do you respond to such remarks?
We have filed a complaint against him for making such comments. Let the police hold an enquiry into it. At this age, such comments should not be made at people who are entering politics. He is such a senior leader and is someone whom we respect. Leaders from their party keep talking about upholding renaissance values and ensuring more women in politics. So it has caused me some mental anguish. But I have entered politics with the determination to face any challenge.
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